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How to get a job in Detroit: Four tips to get hired

Detroit skyline j0b search article

One of the most common questions we get whenever we post about new developments, new companies or expansions of businesses in the Detroit region is some version of “that’s great, but how do I get one of those jobs?”

Well, we heard you and talked to someone who has helped get more than 400 people jobs through networking events, outreach and good old-fashioned bringing people together.

Dave Phillips, Detroit supporter and one of the triumvirate that hosts Detroitnet.org, (did I mention recently featured in CNN/Money as a hero? He’s too humble to talk about that one) stopped by and took a few minutes to answer that question and more.

Are there really jobs in Detroit?

Some people have questioned whether there is a turnaround underway despite various reports of job growth, but Phillips not only has the data, but the personal experience to back up that a turnaround is indeed underway.

Dave Phillips of Detroitnet.org

Dave Phillips of Detroitnet.org

“The key indicators I look at when I talk to recruiters are salary bill rates and time to hire. A company says they’re looking to hire 10-20 positions, how long are they actually taking before they fill those positions? Because the shift we’ve seen (since 2009 when we started our pink slip parties) is job seekers were dying for face time in front of recruiters. They were dying for that personal connection. That has changed, where now it’s the recruiters who are coming back and saying they’re dying for qualified candidates. The change is that bill rates and salaries have gone up and time to hire has dropped significantly.”

So how do you get one of those jobs? Read on.

The secret of a resume that gets noticed in a digital age

In a couple of posts, Phillips has talked about how to put together a resume that gets you a job.

“The dirty little secret no one wants to talk about is by and large humans don’t read your resume, especially if you’re doing a blind submission,” he says. “If you’re sending your resume into a generic email address, it winds up getting detached from the email, put into character recognition software and thrown into a database.”

According to Phillips, recruiters and sourcers go to their candidate tracking system and type in the words they are looking for … much like Google, In short, search engine optimize your resume. He suggests having two resumes. One that is the long, raw version for so-called “blind” submissions … his is a whopping 11 pages long … knowing that it goes into a database. The one you hand to people you actually know is the much shorter, traditional, 1-2 page version.

Finding the words you need to use

“If it’s something you’re good with, you should know. Much like everything else, you need to think like you’re on the other side of the table,” says Phillips.

For example, a programmer would be wise to use different versions of the term in their raw resume. Include “Dot net,” as well as “.net,” or another idea would be “C sharp” and “C#.”

After all, as Phillips talked about on his blog post, “certified project management professional” and “PMP certification” are the same thing, but the computer doesn’t know that.

It may sound silly, but if the resume isn’t being read by people and being scanned by machines, this can really help.

When you’re applying for a job, apply for that job

One of the areas that Phillips says people fall down is taking a mass-marketing approach to their resume. “Tailor the resume to the job. That’s what actually makes all the difference in the world.”

What it boils down to is if you’ve got a direct contact don’t send in a resume tailored for a tech lead when applying to be a vice president. Also, do your research. Know about the company before you send the resume or step into the interview. Today, knowledge of the company and what it does is a question that you will almost be inevitably asked and expected to know.

After all, “if you don’t have a job, your job is finding a job.” Tailoring your resume for personal contacts and doing research is part of it.

Do something different to break out of a rut

Detroit skyline j0b search articleWhat if you’ve been looking for a long time with no success? Well, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

“If you’re constantly just sending off resumes blindly to email addresses or job postings online obviously, that is not working to you,” Phillips says. “Find a different approach. Come to an event either ours (they happen every month) or somebody elses, I don’t care. Reaching out through Facebook. Reaching out through people you know at a bar. You have to just to change the way you’re doing things to get a different result.”

He acknowledges it is hard for many people to get into networking, especially in the IT world. It’s important to not get into the recliner syndrome. Getting out and networking really can make all the difference.

In case you want to know more, check Dave and the rest of the Detroitnet.org community out at his website. Also, you’re going to want to mark your calendars as they have an upcoming event on 3/13 at the Masonic Temple you’re not going to want to miss.

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9 comments on “How to get a job in Detroit: Four tips to get hired

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